HEALTH

Diabetes should be focus of healthcare professionals year-round

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT There are many pharmacy retailers hooking their diabetes-related initiatives into the awareness generated by American Diabetes Month, but judging by a new study recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it may be time for healthcare professionals to begin piecing together initiatives that will help maintain that heightened awareness over the course of an entire year.

(THE NEWS: Supervalu encourages healthy lifestyles with diabetes program. For the full story, click here)

That study, published in Population Health Metrics, projected that newly diagnosed cases of diabetes incidence will increase from the eight cases per 1,000 people diagnosed in 2008 to about 15 cases per 1,000 people in 2050. That alone suggests more people will be in need of year-round nutrition programs, such as Supervalu’s “living healthy with my diabetes.” But if those projected increases in diabetes incidence are coupled with a decline in diabetes-related mortality rates, the CDC suggested that as many as 1-in-3 Americans will have diabetes by 2050, as compared with the 1-in-5 Americans who have diabetes today.

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Decision Resources: More patients switch to Onglyza from Merck’s Type 2 diabetes drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

BURLINGTON, Mass. Many Type 2 diabetes patients who use the drug Onglyza (saxagliptin) switched to that drug from Merck’s Januvia (sitagliptin) and Janumet (sitagliptin and metformin), according to a new report by market research firm Decision Resources.

 

The report found that 9.3% of patients for whom Onglyza –– made by Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca –– was not their first Type 2 diabetes drug had previously used Januvia, while 7.9% had used Janumet. All three drugs belong to the same class, known as DPP-IV inhibitors.

 

 

“While about half of physicians we surveyed predict their prescribing of Onglyza will increase over the next two years, and Onglyza has picked up some patient share from Januvia and Janumet, Januvia’s more favorable formulary positioning and noncoverage of Onglyza will remain important hurdles for Onglyza’s uptake,” Decision Resources analyst Kate Sullivan said.

 

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NYT article: FSA changes shed light on old eligibility problems

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK A New York Times report published Tuesday illustrated exactly how far apart the rubber is from the road when it comes to incentivizing preventive healthcare practices and the implementation of the new rules associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Even as common over-the-counter remedies soon will require a prescription in order to be eligible for reimbursement under flexible spending account arrangements, tried and true preventive healthcare practices, such as breast-feeding, are not and in fact have never been considered eligible for FSA reimbursement, the report noted. “With all the changes the healthcare overhaul will bring in the coming years, it nonetheless will leave those regulations intact when new rules for flexible spending accounts go into effect in January,” the report read.

Breast pumps are not considered eligible FSA expenditures despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics made a direct appeal to the Internal Revenue Service to define such products as breast pumps as a device used for medical care. In May 2009, the IRS determined that breast pumps do not diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent disease. However, the Food and Drug Administration regulates the manufacture of breast pumps as medical devices, and there are numerous studies that establish the preventive health benefits for children consuming their mother’s breast milk.

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